Criminalizing Drugs—Including Misoprostol and Mifepristone—Is a Bad Idea

Recently, Louisiana added misoprostol and mifepristone (“M&M”) to the state’s list of criminalized controlled substances. M&M are medications that, among other things, can safely and effectively end a pregnancy. As a result of this law, possession of these medications without a prescription can result in fines of up to $5,000 or “imprisonment of no more than five years with or without hard labor.”

Much of the outcry against this state action has focused on the fact that M&M are neither dangerous nor addictive and thus should not be categorized or criminalized as a controlled substance. While it is true that M&M, two exceptionally well-studied and approved medications, are extremely safe and lack any potential for addiction, this critique reinforces dangerous myths about the war on drugs already deeply intertwined with the war on abortion.

The Florida Supreme Court Didn’t Just Uphold a Six-Week Ban—It Denied Women Their Constitutional Privacy

Adopted by Florida voters in 1980, Article 23 of Florida’s Constitution states: “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life except as otherwise provided herein.” 

By compelling a woman to continue her pregnancy, Florida denies women exactly the kind of privacy it says its Constitution protects. 

My Thanks to Dobbs

The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs has done a much better job than I ever did to raise public consciousness about the connections between abortion, pregnancy and pregnancy loss. For more than 30 years, I have tried to communicate the fact that abortion and pregnancy are not separate issues and that all people with the capacity for pregnancy—not just those seeking to end a pregnancy—would be harmed by the loss of Roe.

Dobbs however is doing a wonderful job helping people see the connections—from the state of Texas denying Kate Cox the right to end a pregnancy with a fetus that had no chance of survival, to skilled medical professionals fleeing states where they face arrest and financial ruin for providing medical care to pregnant patients.

Why I Refuse to Feel Hopeless About the Texas Abortion Case

I refuse to feel hopeless about the fact that Texas has, for now, successfully banned abortion in that state. Already, the Department of Justice has sued Texas over its restrictive new abortion law, saying the state legislature enacted the statute “in open defiance of the Constitution.”

I do not predict another civil war, but I do know there will be a reckoning. Sometimes a loss opens the door to something better in the future. Before then, though, there will be enormous suffering. But, as we have seen before, no prohibition and no amount of pain or fear will ever stop a movement for fundamental human rights.